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Being Well Is About Reinvention - Not Health

NEW YORK, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- How is the economy affecting people's wellness? According to a 2009 Survey by Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness on Wellness & the Economy, the economy is making us collectively more unwell, as our focus shifts from a healthy lifestyle of exercise and diet to one that is more inwardly focused on adapting to the new economic climate.

The survey's most dramatic finding was the change in consumers' definition of wellness, which shifted from a traditional focus on health and wellbeing to today's more relevant concerns about adapting to new realities. The numbers tell the story: while 47% said wellness used to mean "being healthy," this year only 10% feel that way. By contrast, survey responders' top definition of wellness is now "reinventing my life"--changing their behaviors, plans, and even their aspirations.

"The change in consumers' perceptions about Wellness is important news for marketers who advance Wellness as a key benefit of their brands, from foods to drugs to lifestyle brands," notes Johanna Skilling, Director of Strategic Planning at SSW, who led the survey. "While consumers haven't completely given up on the goal of health and balance, the definition of health has changed. This means that as marketers, we have an important role to play in helping our constituents adapt to new realities in the marketplace."

The survey asked people to compare their wellness choices before and after the economic downturn. Over 500 people weighed in on SSW's survey on the economy and wellness, offering insight into everything from their moods to their eating and exercise regimes, from their media habits to their sex lives. The survey was conducted entirely through social media, reaching people in 9 countries and 31 states.

Before the economic downturn, consumers defined their state of wellness as being healthy, eating well and being physically fit. Today, wellness is about trying to change and survive. As one respondent noted: "Before, wellness meant eating right and exercising. Now it means being sane in a very desperate world." Another said, "Wellness used to mean feeling comfortable within my own skin, no matter how much I had to spend. Now it's the peace of mind that comes with knowing I can pay the rent."

The survey also found that those hurt more by the economy are choosing to eat less healthfully (loading up on carbs and sugar); exercise less; and even take less care of their appearance, right down to their skincare. As one consumer stated, "I eat less, go out less and buy less. The food I do buy is not the best either, since cheaper food tends to be less healthful."

"There is a huge opportunity here for marketers to tap into the new realities of how consumers feel, and adapt their messages to provide the peace of mind and support people are looking for in the products and services that they do buy," said Skilling. "Those back-to-basics campaigns resonate strongly with this target market even in categories not usually considered the province of wellness marketers, such as retail and do-it-yourself."

Skilling said some of the findings were especially surprising given that responders to the survey would normally be considered affluent, with 73% making $50M or more, and 60% making $75M or more. If even this segment of the population is hurting, it's easy to imagine how hard it is for those making less.

Highlights of the study include consumers' changed definition of wellness, from last year to this:

                     WHAT DOES WELLNESS MEAN TO YOU?

                2009                                    2008
                ----                                    ----
1. RE-INVENTING - 41%                  1. BEING HEALTHY - 47%
2. SURVIVING - 39%                     2. FEELING GOOD INSIDE & OUT - 39%
3. SLEEPING WELL - 35%                 3. BEING BALANCED - 37%
5. HAVING FUN - 29%                    5. EATING WELL - 28%

About Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness began a transformation in 2007 from an agency focused solely on healthcare advertising into a fully integrated wellness agency. The agency handles integrated marketing for clients along the entire wellness spectrum including Nexium, Ambien CR, Plavix, Durex, Frontline and Transitions, among others. The agency provides a full-range of marketing solutions including advertising, digital, direct, promotion and social marketing strategies. The agency was created to leverage the value of marketing wellness as a differentiator for healthcare, lifestyle, food and other brands. Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness is a unit of the Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare Communications Group, part of the Publicis Healthcare Communications Group. For more information visit the agency's website at, or its blog at

SOURCE Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

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